Co-op, the Community and South East Scotland Scouts

There are numerous ways you can work with the Co-op in your local community. Here’s our FIVE step guide to explain how the Co-op can give you a helping hand in your community:

  1. 1. Find your Member Pioneer (via their Co-ordinator)
  2. 2. Understand and apply for the Local Community fund
  3. 3. Promote your activities through your Co-op store and
  4. 4. Learn about other funding opportunities and save food from landfill  
  5. 5. And network with other groups to support each other and find synergies.

Most of us are now used to supermarkets offering funding to community groups, also some car sales companies, insurance brokers its part of our daily lives but at the Co-op its slightly different. 

Co-op food stores aim to be at the heart of their communities. Part of the co-operative movement and formed as a result of the ‘Rochdale Pioneers’ wanting to support and provide a better life for their employees in 1844. This ethos continues with the Co-op having a network of Member Pioneers, increasing community co-operation and making a visible difference to where they live. Its a bit different to just asking shoppers to put tokens in a box to decide which community group gets some money, (although that’s good stuff too).

If you look on the Co-op website to find more out it will tell you: Our Member Pioneers bring together Co-op members, colleagues and local causes to make communities a better place to work, play, live and learn. They can put you in touch with like-minded people, offer practical advice, and help. 

I’ve been a Member Pioneer in the Borders for over 4 years and its a job ( paid ) for four hours a week. My main activity is getting to know my community groups, connecting them and their initiatives. I offer connection, support and help which may include expertise or a space to promote themselves or fundraise. I can advise on local activities and I run a forum to facilitate that connection.

Another key part of my role is enabling the ‘Local Community Fund’ (LCF) and sharing information of  other Co-op community initiatives. LCF involves three local causes getting a percentage spend of every Co-op member who either chooses them or lives in their community if no choice is made for a 12 month period. The more the cause engages with their community to use their membership card and make a choice the more money they get. 


As a relationship is built between the local cause, the Member Pioneer and the store (s) the benefits to both are greater than just the funding and the interaction ideally starts before being chosen as a cause and continues long after. 


 As an active volunteer/ group in Scouting: 

* How does that help you? 

* What do I advise? 


You will gain a greater connection in your community and an insight into community projects. You may be selected for a LCF or gain some other funding depending on your project. You’ll learn more about ‘food-share’ and how to apply.  


A relationship with your Member Pioneer is essential for these benefits and will with be specific to you and them. We all work differently and you, your Member Pioneer and your communities are unique. 


Get in touch with them as they would love to hear from you. Build that relationship, learn about the LCF in your area and the type of projects they see as a priority, (based on strategic pillars and typical amount of money awarded). Ask about any other funding currently available.  


Also set up an account in you need to be on that platform to apply for LCF and its another part of your toolkit to highlight what you do in scouting and for volunteers to find you. 

If you have a Co-op related question please do reach out.

by Jude Cormack, Co-op Member Pioneer and Scout Leader Galashiels Scout Group

‘Jude was professional and fully engaged with our project. We loved having her input and she was very encouraging too. Her choc tasting and Fairtrade events at our sessions were popular and informative.

The funding we received from the Coop at Interest Link Borders allowed  us to continue to watch befriending relationships thrive within our community. Our cooking, craft and drama sessions have provided the starting point of many genuine friendships and the positive impacts continued throughout restrictions’

Stephanie Poletyllo, interest LINK Borders

Many Scouting groups are currently Coop Local Causes and the more Coop Members that support them by using their Coop Card instore and nominating one of those groups as their local cause online, the more money that group will receive at the end of the day. If you are part of a Scouting group that is a local cause, you can help your network of contacts to support you by directing them to: – where CAUSE_ID is your individual Cause ID – for example 58775 is Gullane Scouts.